Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday Morning Musings


I have a Literature Review due in 2 weeks and it has become the bane of my existence. I have to do a full-scale review and analysis on "Best Practices in Family Preservation." Finding appropriate research for that exact topic has been a pain in the arse but I finally found 4 (we need to have between 3 to 5 articles) and I'm not changing them now! I've been reading through what I've found, identifying the research question and reading through the discussion for the findings. Once I've read them all, I will go back and review the Methods. And let's face it. Analysis isn't my strong suit. It is going to kick my arse. I just don't have an analytical brain, and to try and understand their methods and make sure they covered all the bases (in other words, they conducted a solid study) makes me just laugh thinking about it.

Family preservation services are family-focused, short-term, intensive therapeutic services designed for families with a child at imminent risk of out-of-home placement. That is good, right, because when children are removed from their parents and their environment, it is serious trauma! Also, if the child is young and they are placed in foster care for a length of time, the attachment process can be interrupted. Research has shown the disastrous effects of disrupting the attachment/bonding of a young child and their main caretaker.

The goals of the program are to resolve the crisis that led to the decision to remove the child and teach the child's family the skills they need to stay together. It emphasizes the strengths of the family and seeks to empower families to solve their own problems. What a concept! Obviously, children who have been abused will be removed from the home and really don't qualify for these types of services. (Other services are provided, obviously, as the primary goal of child welfare is to reunify the child with their biological parents). But what about the families who have been neglectful due to inadequate housing, addiction, mental health issues or poor child care skills?

FPS could work for them, but my findings so far are a bit disappointing. It seems as though the caseworkers in the field don't always identify the proper families for FPS. Meaning, some inappropriate families receive it, and the ones that could have benefited from FPS have the child removed. I think a lot of caseworker's err on the side of caution because they are afraid to leave a child in a home that has been identified as neglectful, etc. Makes sense - I know I'd feel that way - but it leads me to my next rant. Proper Training, please! I've come across a lot of literature that says caseworkers are not trained on proper assessment of the families and treatment of the above problems, as well as many others. This isn't the first time I've heard this! When are we going to put trained human services people in these positions and quit hiring any joe blow off the street? I doubt that their intentions are bad but they aren't educated/trained to assess these families properly, and therefore, the families are provided incorrect services. The system is not meeting their needs. We are failing them!

Anywho, besides reading and ingesting the research articles (time consuming, anyone?), I have to fit in my work hours (thankfully I can do those from my computer, but they take up valuable school work time) and write the damn review in TWO WEEKS! If you know me, I am not a quick writer. It takes a while for the writing flow (in other words, days, weeks, etc). I can't just sit down and spit it out. Ugh. UGH! I see sleepless nights is in my near future. As I sit here and contemplate how I am supposed to pull this off, my brain quickly reminds me that it is 25% of our friggin grade, which makes me feel so much better.

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